James 5:13-18 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (14) Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (15) And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (16) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (17) Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. (18) Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (19) My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, (20) let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
As we come to the final verses in the book of James we are reminded of the power of prayer and praise. James encourages us to pray for the suffering and the sick and to praise when we are cheerful. Taking our needs to the Lord in prayer is how we see His mighty hand work in our lives. Whether or not he heals is part of His sovereign grace. In some circumstances he heals and others he may not, but through either we are to sing praises to His name.
Sin is a powerful force in ones life when it comes to health. I have been with friends who are walking in blatant sin and when they confess their sin to the Lord they discover many of their physical ailments are resolved as well. James tells us that when we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Though we are simply men and women, we, like Elijah, should pray fervently. God shows his might even over nature through the prayers of a righteous man or woman. That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect or fearless. It means we need to be faithful. The faithful prayer of a righteous man availeth much!
Lastly we are to pray for those who have strayed from the truth. There is much blessing for a friend who brings a brother or sister back to the Lord. Not only does this cause the fellow believer to again be in fellowship with Christ, but it also prevents future sin from occurring not only in the wanderer, but also in those he or she has impacted in their time of backsliding.
The book of James is full of wisdom and truth. As we close the devotions on this book we should ask ourselves a couple of questions.
- How do I respond in times of difficulty and trials? Do I count it all joy?
- Do I live my life like it is a vapor? If not, what should I do to change that?
- Is Christ the most important thing in my life?
- Does the way I live my life reflect my relationship with Christ?
- Do I seek the Lord when it comes to my plans and pursuits?
- Do I patiently seek the Lord in prayer for all things?
- Do I see the importance of Christian maturity in my life? If so, how am I going to continue walking in that? If not, what am I going to do to improve in this area?
Lord, help me not to simply be a hearer of the word but a doer as well ~ Amen.